Does your child have allergies? There are many things that can ease common symptoms and help her feel better.
Medicines and other therapies can help, but so can keeping your child away from the things he’s allergic to. Work with your doctor to get your child feeling better soon.
Don’t smoke before or after your child is born. Smoking while you’re pregnant makes your infant more likely to wheeze once she’s born, a symptom of respiratory illness. And secondhand smoke can cause allergic conditions, including asthma.
Avoid pollen. In the spring, summer, and fall, trees, weeds, and grasses release pollens that cause allergy woes you might know as “hay fever.”
- Ragweed, the most common weed allergy, is typically present in late summer and early fall. Pollen levels are highest in the mornings.
- Grass pollen levels are usually highest on spring and summer evenings.
- Outdoor molds grow on leaves and can trigger fall allergies.
- Close windows and use the air conditioner to keep humidity levels low in your home.
- Give your child a nightly bath or shower to remove pollens from her body and hair.
Control dust mites. These are the tiny creatures that live in bedding, carpets, and upholstered furniture and can aggravate allergies year-round.
- Cover mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergy-proof bedding.
- Wash bed sheets, blankets, and comforters once a week in hot water.
- Install hardwood floors, if possible; if not, vacuum weekly using a HEPA filter.
- Wash curtains and dust blinds often.
- Throw stuffed animals in the dryer to kill dust mites or store them in plastic bags or bins.
Perhaps say no to pets. Unless allergy tests have shown that pet dander isn’t causing your child’s symptoms, you probably shouldn’t get one. If you already have a family cat or dog, try to keep them out of your child’s bedroom, and bathe them regularly.
Treat Symptoms With Medications
Read the small print on over-the-counter drug labels. Make sure the medicine is the right one for your child’s age and that you’re not using multiple drugs with the same active ingredients to treat different allergy symptoms. If you’re not careful, you may be giving your child too much of one ingredient.
Remember that children can be more sensitive to certain medicines than adults. If in doubt, talk with your doctor.
Runny nose. Antihistamines help stop symptoms such as runny nose. But some of them may make your child drowsy. Check the drug label or ask your pharmacist about how antihistamines might affect your kid.
Stuffiness and sneezing. Nasal sprays help with stuffy noses and sneezing. Decongestants can help, too, but using them more than a few days can make stuffiness come back.
Itchy, red, watery eyes. Eyedrops relieve these eye symptoms when other methods don’t work. But ask your child’s doctor before you use them.
When Medicines Don’t Work
If over-the-counter or prescription medicines don’t help your child’s symptoms, then it may be time for immunotherapy. It’s a treatment that helps people build up tolerance to the allergens that bug them. They come in shots and tablets that dissolve under the tongue. You’ll need to take your child to an allergist to see if this is what she needs.